Most of us know what to do in case of fire: Get out of the house and call the fire department. Some of us even practice fire drills with our family and know where we will meet outside to make sure everyone is safe. When is the last time you thought about what to do in case of a home invasion, though? Do you have a plan for that? Have you practiced it with your family? Here’s how to get started on your urban survival home invasion strategy.
Home Invasions vs Burglary
By definition, home invasions occur when there are occupants in the home. If someone enters your house when you and your family aren’t home, it’s not an “invasion.” You want to keep your property secure, so you lock doors and windows and perhaps even have a home alarm system. That’s good. But home invasions threaten more than your property — they can threaten the lives of you and your loved ones.
Statistics are variable and ever-changing, but current data indicates there are more than two home burglaries every MINUTE in the USA. Most often, those unauthorized entries occur between 10 am and 3 pm — the times when the home is most likely to be vacant. Burglaries become home invasions when the thief enters during a time when someone is home. Desperate times call for desperate measures.
Home Invasions and Urban Survival
Home invasions are a potential threat 24 hours a day and seven days a week. When civic unrest, natural disasters, or other factors come into play the possibility can increase. Bad actors know their chances of getting caught are much less when the police are distracted by another event.
One thing to remember: It is your responsibility to protect yourself, your home, and your family. Just like the pastor of your church isn’t responsible for your spiritual condition, police officers aren’t responsible for your safety. Pastors and police can help — but you need to be able to help yourself as well. Don’t wait for a crisis to occur. Get ready now.
Here are the urban survival against home invasion steps I’ve taken at my own home. My hope is that you will use them to develop your own plan:
- Identify escape routes and determine when each will be used and when. If the intruder is trying to kick down the front door, can you escape via a back door or window (and do you have a way to make sure the coast is clear)?
- Identify an off-property gathering spot for your family. Your backyard is not the best spot. Find a place that is open to the public — maybe a park down the street or even a neighbor’s front yard.
- Purchase an escape ladder to use for exiting from upper floor windows. These portable and easily storable items aren’t expensive and can create a safe exit in a hurry. They are highly recommended for both home invasions and as fire escapes.
- Know where your weapons are at all times. Firearms in a safe can take too much time to retrieve, but a baseball bat by the door or a spray bottle filled with bleach can stop intruders in a hurry. Keep your home surroundings ready for action at all times. Designate a spot to store keys so they are easy to grab. Strategically place self-defense weapons throughout your home. Look closely and you may find there are already many items that could be used for self defense sitting on your tables and shelves. Place them with your home invasion plan in mind and make mental note of the closest weapon from every location in your home.
- Never unlock the door without first determining who is knocking. The easiest way for criminals to gain entry to your home is to pretend to have a delivery for you or to otherwise get you to unlock the door. It may feel odd, but begin the practice of never touching the lock until you are certain the person on the other side is friendly. Keep a weapon by the door that you can quickly use to defend your home and yourself. Bad actors are liars and thieves. Don’t expect them to tell you the truth or to treat you with respect. Be ready.
- Practice your home invasion escape plan regularly. Combine it with a fire drill. Do it until everyone in your family knows exactly what to do and when to do it. Don’t wait for an emergency to force you into making a quick plan. Make a good one now.
Urban Survival of Home Invasions
Our aim here isn’t to scare you, but to help you become more aware. The better you are prepared for an emergency situation, the more likely you are to get through it safely. Top of the list in my own strategy is to keep my family and myself out of harm’s way. Should a home invasion occur, I’m not looking for a reason to fight — but for a way to escape. My top priority is to get out and get clear of danger.
You bet I’ll dial 911 as soon as I can, but the damage is often done before police can arrive. Don’t be a hero. Be a survivor.